08 May 2003 13:45 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Europe’s chemicals producers remain extremely concerned about the cost and workability of the European Commission’s (EC’s) draft new chemicals legislation.
Official reaction remains muted but the industry is just beginning to digest the implications of the draft published Wednesday (7 May) on the Internet for an eight-week consultation period.
Business has gained at first sight significant concessions but is concerned about the cost implications and complexity of the proposed chemicals registration and testing system, Reach. It also believes that the full cost implications to European industry have not yet been identified.
The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) welcomed the extension of the internet consultation period and efforts made to lessen the impact of the new rules on small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), a spokesman said. Cefic also appreciates the fact that the EC will conduct further studies on the full cost implications of the legislation, including that on downstream industry, he added. However, the chemical industry’s earlier statements regarding the scope and implications of the new legislation remain valid, he suggested.
To date, the EC has forecast the registration and product evaluation costs of Reach at Euro3.6bn ($4m) and the possible Euro24bn burden on Europe’s manufacturing industry over a 20-year period. Studies commissioned by the chemical industry have pointed to much higher costs borne across European industry including the loss of a significant number of jobs.
The Reach proposals and the draft posted on the Internet (a 1200 page document with some 70 pages devoted to Reach and the remainder to a series of annexes) are now open to intense scrutiny. Stakeholders were yesterday briefed on the contents. The EC will soon give details of the procedure for making comment.
Europe’s smaller chemicals producers, distributors and traders are likely to bear a disproportionately high proportion of Reach costs. "We remain extremely concerned about the impact of the European Union’s proposed legislation, particularly its cost, workability, practicality and its potential to undermine the competitiveness of one of Europe’s most successful business sectors," British Chemicals Distributors and Traders Association (BCDTA) director Peter Newport said.
It is clear that the BCDTA does not believe the eight week consultation period is long enough. "We are in the process of consulting our members within the limited eight week period announced by the EC," Newport added, "and will be responding in due course".
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